Getting Vertical – How to stand up on a paddle board
How do you stand up on a paddle board? Most people are amazed when I tell them it’s easy. It’s also one of the best ways to discover local marine life. Looking down into the water from a new vantage point is an amazing way to see nature. First you have to learn how to stand up on the paddle board! Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boarding looks really easy. However if you have ever seen someone trying the sport without any instruction it can be pretty comical. Knowing how and where to stand up on the paddle board makes a big difference when learning the sport.
Flat water is best for learning how to stand up on a paddle board
First timers on a SUP board should find a calm waterway. Usually inshore locations are best depending on the wind direction. The Gulf is perfect for learning when the water is flat with no swells. East winds keeps the swells low in the Gulf. Mornings are ideal for learning as the sea breeze usually picks up in the afternoon.
Protect the board by ensuring that the fin is completely submerged in water before putting any weight onto the board. For the most stability place both hands on the board and position your knees parallel to the handle. Always position your body over the handle of the paddle board. The handle is the center or sweet spot on the board and provides the most balance.
Transitioning from kneeling to standing up on a paddle board
Paddling in a kneeling stance for a few moments helps to establish balance on the board. Once you are comfortable kneeling and paddling it is time to transition from kneeling to standing. Keep your hands on the paddle and position your hands under your shoulders. Once in a table position on the board, move one foot up to the handle. Lift up on the other foot and slowly transition it up to the handle as well.
Foot position is key!
Positioning of the feet makes a big difference in balance. You may want to take a moment and look at your feet to ensure that they are hip distance apart. A stance that is too close or far apart will cause instability on the board. Always point your toes forward toward the nose of the board. From this forward fold prepare to slowly transition to standing. You’re up! Remember to breathe.
Stand up on the paddle board
Gaze out onto the horizon! It helps to keep you balanced. Try to avoid looking at your feet. Keep your paddle in hand and glide the blade into the water. Stay moving too! Momentum and maintaining the paddle close to the water helps to ease a beginner into balancing. Bent knees absorb shock. A loose stance allows for any wake or swell to gently flow under your board.
It is a challenge to stand up without paddling at first. With enough practice balance will become second nature. However if you feel any instability do NOT fight it. Make a splash not a crash! Remember that even the best paddle boarders fall off their boards at some point. Anyone can paddle board with determination and a few tips. Once you try SUP your life will be changed. Now get out there and explore the coastline.